Saturday, October 24, 2009


I spent the entire morning birding the neighborhood and it was a great morning to be outside. The temperature started in the low 50s and rose to about 70 while I was out, and conditions were clear and mostly still. I got this picture of a Magnolia Tree bloom in the bright early morning light on Tottenham Court.

The birding was a bit slower than last weekend, but winter-resident birds are still arriving. This morning I saw these 3 species for the first time since last winter:
  • I found a single Wilson's Snipe on the creek near the end of Meadowheath. These odd-looking and odd-sounding birds can commonly be found on our creek during the winter, hiding in the vegetation near the water.
  • I saw and heard a White-throated Sparrow in the woods near the last dam on the creek. These native sparrows winter in our neighborhood in patches of dense woods in the low undergrowth.
  • Late in the morning on Woodmere I ran into a small mixed-species foraging flock in the trees that included a Blue-headed Vireo.
Near the last dam on the creek I got these 2 pictures of a Double-crested Cormorant perched on a dead tree. It saw me and flew off, and you can see it crouching to jump into the air in the second picture. These are common water birds in Texas in the winter, especially on the coast where many people call them "Water turkeys". Cormorants are similar to diving ducks and swim underwater to catch fish. But they do not have the wax gland that ducks have to keep their feathers dry, so they periodically have to perch and let their feathers dry out.

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